Archive for April 22nd, 2019

April 22, 2019

Church Notre Dame de Victoire/St Louis at Lorient!

Ok this is one example of the multitude of choices and sights we have in my belle France. The place is only 30 minutes by car from my house, and visited several times; even in the Church, yet not written a post on it!!! Amazes me all the time! Well it’s time I tell you a bit more on the Church of Notre Dame de Victoire or St Louis of Lorient. Of course, this is in lovely Morbihan dept 56 of my lovely Brittany!

Let me go from the back forward on the nice sea town of Lorient. The town was created in 1666 and developed in the 18C following two axes from the paddock, one in the direction of Ploemeur, via the rue du Port, an another one towards Hennebont via the Rue Maréchal Foch. It is around the Church of St. Louis, which was in the extension of the Rue Maréchal Foch, that all the administrative, educational, social and commercial equipments are concentrated today.

The Church of St. Louis escapes the rule by being built along a north-west – southeast axis. The Church is elevated in the axis of old Rue du Morbihan (current Rue Maréchal Foch). Revamped several times, the Church is truly completed in 1830, with the construction of the Bell Tower. which also served as a flashing light.

The new Church of Notre-Dame-de-Victoire, the seat of the parish of Saint-Louis, is a church located in the center of Lorient. It was completed in 1955 after the bombing that had destroyed in 1943 the Church of St. Louis b.1810-30. It is the most important parish in the country of Lorient. The dedication to Notre-Dame-de-Victoire refers to the city’s English siége in 1746.  Made of concrete, the steeple culminates at 54 meters high, and is the highest point of Lorient. The access to its summit is done by means of a staircase of 270 steps.

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lorient

Let me tell you a bit of history and details on it. Imposing Church right in the area we do our shopping!

The former St. Louis Church  was built between 1810 and 1830. A neo-classical style, it had a bell tower that dominated the city. In 1940, the Nazis occupiers created a very vulnerable submarine base in the Atlantic. Curiously, the Royal Air Force will only start bombing once the base is finished from 1943. Under the influence of the bombs, the Church of St. Louis will be so damaged that it was abandoned to restore it.

In 1953, the request was given to rebuild a church, 400 meters from the site of the old one. It will be inspired by neo-Byzantine art by creating a large dome above the nave. The development of the place Alsace-Lorraine, who’s Church occupies one side. The construction of the Church will span three years (1953-1955) and use materials and finishes in honor at the time, in other words the concrete left unsheathing.  The Church is placed under the patronage of Notre Dame de Victoire or Our Lady of Victory, but also, as the one she replaces, under that of St. Louis. Our Lady of Victory, very honored by the locals since the failure of the English siege of 1746, owns her statue in the Chapel of the Virgin.

Poor in ornamentation, this Church of Notre Dame de Victoire nevertheless possesses some interesting frescoes, works of Parisian and Breton artists. One will notice the great fresco of the apse illustrating the coronation of Virgin. The exterior of the Church also offers three stone statues ; Madonna and Child, Saint-Pierre-aux-Liens and Saint-Louis. The stained glass windows, are very succinct. The monumental porch, in the middle of the façade, is 12 meters high, it is adorned with a statue of Notre Dame.

As soon as the visitor enters the Church of Notre Dame de Victoire/St Louis , their gaze is struck by the chromatic contrast between the grey, almost uniform, of the nave and the rather yellow clarity of the choir. This was the will of the architects,  to create a nave without many stained glass and which must remain in the shadows so that the attention of the faithful is sucked by the light of the choir. To this end, a series of glazed screen walls borders the north and south sides of the sanctuary, almost from the ground to the vault.  The Entombment,  and the Annunciation show the chromatic dominance of the two frescoes is grey, as if it were not necessary at any price to detach themselves on the concrete elevation in the background, grey too. Admittedly, it is necessary to ensure the contrast with the choir, but a distracted visitor may very well not see them by doing the round of the nave.

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The high Altar of the Church of Notre Dame de Victoire/St Louis is associated with the famous word of Christ, read in the Gospel according to Luke: “advance offshore, and throw your nets for fishing.” These words addressed to Simon-Peter are the prelude to the miraculous fishery. “Forward offshore” also appears on a banner clearly visible on the western façade of the Church. The side chapels are  two chapels each decorated with a large fresco. That of the Chapel of the Virgin traces elements of the life of Saint Louis, while that of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel  is rich with a biblical symbolism very removed.

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lorient

In the Chapel of the Virgin throne the statue of Our Lady of Victory, (Notre Dame de Victoire) from 1850. The city of Lorient is meant to be under the protection of Saint Mary and this statue is the illustration. In 1746, during the war of the Austrian succession, when the city was besieged by the English, the inhabitants made a vow to the Virgin. A silver statue of Notre Dame was created. It will disappear in the French revolution and be replaced in 1850. In 1943, the statue was removed intact from the rubble of the Church of St. Louis, which was interpreted as a sign of the protection of Our Lady of Victory over the city. The Virgin sits on the city walls. From her scepter, she made depart the British leopard.

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I keep writing the double name of Notre Dame de Victoire and Saint Louis because as the new Church was really given the name of ND de Victoire, the locals still refers to it as Saint Louis therefore ,the title of my post! ok It is worth the detour for the contrast of a modern Church to many old ones we have around here. Something to see other than sea boating museum activities in town,and shopping::)

lorient

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Lorient and its heritage sites

Tourist office of Lorient South Brittany on Lorient heritage

Tourist office of Morbihan dept 56 on Lorient

Tourist office of Brittany on Lorient

And there you go, now come and see the nice Church of Notre Dame de VictoireSt Louis ,and lovely city of Lorient. It is worth a detour me think.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

April 22, 2019

Church Notre Dame de Kerdro at Locmariaquer!

So let me put you back near me and keep showcasing my area gems of my belle France. We are still in Spring but sunny just nice Breton weather!  Again passages of it but feel need to tell you a bit more in depth on these beauties.

Locmariaquer is a town in the Morbihan Department 56 of the region of Brittany . The town is located at the western mouth of the Gulf of Morbihan and has many beaches overlooking the Bay of Quiberon, western part of Mor Braz which opens access to the Atlantic Ocean.

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 The Church of Notre-Dame de Kerdro is a Romanesque style church, built between 1082 and 1120 by the monks of Quimperlé, the transept and the choir are the surviving elements. In 1548, Locmariaquer was attacked by the English fleet and largely destroyed. The Church suffers damage. It is re renovated new in the 17-18C as the construction of the nave, modification of the Romanesque parts; the Bell Tower is built in 1817. The west, north and south gates are built in 1835.

Locmariaquer

The Church of Notre Dame de Kerdro is done in a Latin cross, the intersection of which is a square tower of 1817 with a Bell Tower and a slate. The Romanesque apse is backed by four buttresses.. At the location of the southern one, a sacristy was built. The exterior walls of the Romanesque part, choir and transept, mounted in small archaic apparatus like cubic rubble, scattered bricks and rows of Roman bricks in re-use, are older 11C than the interior structure. The façade bears the Latin inscription “HIC Domus dei” or”here is the House of God“. The south gate is protected by a porch in advance; It is topped by a crest bearing the words “Haec Porta Coelli” or “this is the gate of heaven”.

Locmariaquer

The Church Notre Dame de Kerdro is covered with framing. It consists of a nave with three smaller naves 18C separated by full-arches worn by square piles, a transept and a Romanesque Choir 11-12C. The Cross of the transept opens with large double-roll arched arches worn by complex piles with engaged columns whose capitals are carved. It is covered with a wooden ceiling. The choir of two bays separated by a double arch falling on columns engaged in carved capitals is vaulted into a cradle. It ends in a cul-de-furnace the beautiful series of Romanesque capitals is adorned with stylised geometric and vegetal motifs. A marquee is carved from opposing Rams ‘ heads in angles.

Locmariaquer

Locmariaquer

The ornamention inside the Church Notre Dame de Kerdro includes a Blessed cowl included in the wall near the south entrance would date from the 15C. It is adorned with foliage and grapes. Each of the two crosses has an altarpiece topped by a painting, dating from the 17C. The table of the north brace represents the Annunciation, the one of the south the crosillon the Visitation. The twelve stained windows of the Church Notre Dame de Kerdro are equipped with contemporary stained glass, made in 1960.The motifs of the seven stained glass windows of the nave and the transept are abstract. The five stained glass windows of the choir represent images related to the region such as boats and fishing, ears of wheat (agriculture), letters NDK (Notre-Dame-de-Kerdro), bouquet of oyster-culture tiles, dolmen and menhirs (megaliths /stones).

Very nice Church and just around the port area with great seafood and views of the boats, nice indeed. Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are

City of Locmariaquer on Religious heritage

Tourist office of Morbihan on religious sites in Locmariaquer

Tourist office of Brittany on Locmariaquer

So there you go another gem indeed me think. And only 34 km from my house or about 21 miles. Enjoy Locmariaquer and the Church Notre Dame de Kerdro!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

April 22, 2019

Château de Josselin!

This is one of the towns of Brittany that we have visited the most. Its a lovely town by the Canal Nantes-Brest and the quant city center, and of course the main thing is the Château de Josselin. I have written plenty of posts on Josselin but feel the castle deserves a post of its own; so here it is.

Josselin

I have to start by saying is a must see in Brittany, part of the history of it and France lies here, and it has been renovated in good taste with the Dukes of Rohan still living in it! Of course all this is in the town of Josselin, dept 56 of Morbihan in the region of Brittany!

Josselin

The Château de Josselin  was built between 1490 and 1505, taking up many elements from the Louis XII style. It is one of the peaks of the Rohannais triangle of three great fortresses la Chèze, Josselin and Pontivy,  which is the center of the village of Rohan, the nominal fief of the House of Rohan whose castle is neglected for the benefit of the other three. The Castle is since its construction, the residence of the Dukes of Rohan.

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A bit of history I like, and history it has!

Guéthénoc, cadet of the Ducal House of Brittany, Viscount of Porhoët, of Rohan and Guéméné, member of the family of the Counts of Rennes, would have left the feudal mound of Château-Tro in Guilliers to build in this place a first wooden castle around the year 1008. His son Goscelinus gives his name to the new fortress, castellum goscelini, from where Château-Josselin then Josselin, the casterly town that develops at the foot of the castle and offers a relative security.

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In 1154, Eudon de Porhoët, stepfather, Regent and guardian of the young Duke of Brittany, Conan IV, brought together Breton Lords to deprive his son-in-law of his rights. He was defeated by Henry II Plantagenet, King of England and new Duke of Anjou, with whom Conan IV was taken refuge. Around 1170, Henri II personally directed the demolition of the Castle and planted salt to keep the walls in ruins. The fortress was raise from 1173 by the Viscount of Porhoët ,Eudon, an ally of the King of France. Then the Chatelaine passes to the hands of several large families foreign to Brittany. In 1370, it is agreed to cede Josselin, Castle and town, to Olivier V de Clisson in exchange for the Barony of Thuit, near Falaise (Normandy).

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From the existing castle, Clisson built the best armed fortress of Brittany, a feudal enclosure of 4 500 m2, with a Chalet-residence and walls of 25 meters staked with nine towers and a huge dungeon of 26 meters in diameter and 32 meters in height. In 1389, Clisson was banned from the Kingdom of France and sentenced to death by Duke John IV. He takes refuge in his stronghold of Josselin but John IV does not delay to make the siege of the castle. The struggle with the Duke of Brittany will continue until his death.  After the death of Olivier de Clisson, the Château became the property of Alain VIII de Rohan ,heir to the Viscounts of Rohan, whose castle is about 20 km away, and who married Beatrice, daughter of Olivier de Clisson.

Josselin

In 1488, the Duke of Brittany François II took the Castle of Josselin and partially demolished it in order to punish John II of Rohan for his support of the French party against him. His daughter Duchess Anne de Bretagne restored it to John II, who, thanks to the incomes of the Chatelaine of Dinan and Léhon, he was gratified by Charles VIII in gratitude for his help in conquering the hand of the little Duchess (also Queen of France), can transform the Castle and build in the ramparts a Logis de Plaisance (pleasure house), which will be endowed with 1490 to 1510 of a beautiful façade of carved granite typical of the style Louis XII.

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Banished from Josselin because of their adherence to Protestantism, the Rohan must let the Governor of Brittany, the Duke of Mercœur, make their Castle a base for the League opposite to the new King Henri IV. The war of Succession of Brittany gave him its military role during the episode of the combat of the Thirty in 1351 as from Josselin leave the thirty supporters of Charles de Blois (side of king of France) under the leadership of Jean de Beaumanoir. In 1455, the Viscount de Rohan rearranges the castle to install artillery,but the time of military concerns has passed.  Jean II de Rohan undertook important restoration work aimed at improving comfort. He rebuilt the Manor House and its beautiful façade on the northeast courtyard.

Henri II de Rohan, Chief General of the Protestants, transferred the siege of his power to the Château de Pontivy. During the wars of Religion, he rebelled against the Royal power. To punish him, Cardinal Richelieu had the dungeon dismantled in March 1629 , and three towers, but spared the Renaissance building.  In 1694, after the battle of Camaret, the Castle of Josselin served as a prison for British soldiers. In the 18C, the Rohan, living at the Court, no longer resides in the castle which is unfurnished and abandoned. The castle again became a prison in 1758, after the battle of Saint-Cast, and then housed nearly 1 200 prisoners of war. In 1760, in front of the decay of the fortress, Louis III de Rohan Chabot demolished what remains of the two large towers that frame the first door and the drawbridge. In 1776, in order to provide work for poor children in the region, the Duchess of Rohan used to establish a cotton spinning mill in the rooms on the ground floor.

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During the French revolution, the town of Josselin took over the castle and settled there to hold its meetings. Part of the dwelling serves as a grain depot and in the isolated Tower the well-off are imprisoned. In 1799, the castle was returned to the Rohan family, in a much degraded state. This situation of abandonment of the Castle of Josselin will continue until around 1850. In 1822, the Duchess of Berry, during her adventurous tour, convinced the Duke of Rohan to restore it. Around 1835, Charles de Rohan-Chabot, 10th Duke of Rohan, decided to initiate a restoration in good and due form of his abode.  The exterior is rehabilitated; the Interior decorated in the neo-Gothic style called “Troubadour” then in vogue and refurbished almost completely redesigned. The work was continued from 1880 to 1904 and then in 1917, before being opened to the public in 1930.

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It is currently inhabited by the 14th Duke of Rohan, Josselin de Rohan, withdrawn from regional or national policy affairs, and his family. The gardens and four large rooms on the ground floor of the Castle are visited, the long dining room whose top of the paneling is carved up to date with the names of Duke Alain, his parents, his wife and his children, the Salon, an anteroom and the library containing 3 000 volumes and old portraits. Very nice kept indeed!

There are many works of art exhibited such as paintings by masters including a portrait of Louis XIV by Rigaud, that of the Admiral of the Casse attributed to Rigaud, that of Louis XV child by Rosalba Carriera, number of family effigies like the Cardinal of Rohan, the Duchess de La Rochefoucauld d’Enville, Josselin de Rohan-Chabot 12th Duke of Rohan and member Deputy of the Morbihan dept by Jean-Gabriel Domergue, the marble bust of Duke Alain by Auguste Rodin, a beautiful 18C furniture, the table that served for the signature of the Edict of Nantes, porcelain of Sèvres, a large pendulum offered by Louis XV to Bussy, successor of Dupleix as Governor of the French India c 1755, the bronze copy of the famous statue of Henri of Navarre young by Bosio who was shown until 1830 the apartment of the Royal children at the Palais des Tuileries (Paris) , a monumental equestrian statue in marble by Olivier V de Clisson by Emmanuel Frémiet whose plaster reproduction, offered by the 12th Duke, is exhibited in a room of the Château de Suscinio (Morbihan). The old stables have been upgraded to accommodate the doll museum (musée des poupées) of historical dolls collected by the Duchees of Rohan and very interesting especially for children.

The French garden created at the beginning of the 20C extends to the Renaissance façade of the Castle of Josselin. Boxwood and trimmed yews frame the lawns.  A rose garden has been arranged in 2001. It comprises 160 roses belonging to 40 different varieties.  An English park stretches at the foot of the ramparts, along a river. This park features rare species of azaleas, camellias, many rhododendrons and centuries-old trees. It is open to the public for the heritage days (journées du patrimoine)  ; the next on is due 36th Edition September 21-22, 2019.

josselin

As usual by me , some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Chateau de Josselin

Tourist office of Morbihan on the Castle and gardens

Tourist office of Brittany on the Castle

It should be one of your highlights of a visit to Brittany away from the beaches. I say worth the detour indeed at the Château de Josselin. Enjoy it with the whole family and not forget to visit the Dolls museum in it, great for all but especially for children.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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